Quantity vs. Quality

So far I have been keeping up with my goal of a blog post every day.  I have found out several things, I enjoy writing for fun, a post every day gives me no time to plan or edit, writing makes me perform better.

I never have had a writing class I really enjoyed.  This is mostly because I was subject to sever writers block leading to high amounts of stress when my paper was due the next day, without having squat done.  The other problem with writing classes is that you don’t necessarily get to write about subjects that interest you.  With this blog, I have had deadlines tight enough that I can’t slack, which I attribute as the main reason for a reduced amount of writer’s block and I am writing about what I feel like writing about.  The result is that I like writing posts and feel like writing more.

Since I am posting in high volume, I have little time to edit posts, or put a lot of thought into them.  With most of these posts, I am writing from my thought stream with out any prior planning or organization.  Admittedly this was expected when I decided to make a post ever day, and the goal was to develop a daily habit, rather then high quality content.  After the 1 Month Challenge is up, I will probably cut back my posts and focus more on Technology topics and making longer more thought out posts.

My favorite side effect is that doing something productive like writing, has the tendency to boost my performance in other areas.  I don’t have ant scientific proof of this, but I have observed that my performance in other areas of my life seems to improve when I make beneficial changes in unrelated areas.

As far as the blog is concerned, expect to see fewer posts after November 28th. I will probably focus on posting more technology related posts, and I may start to promote the blog more.

Till Next Time-
Wesley

Habit 3: Putting First things First

I’m enjoying 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.  The chapter for habit 3 is titled “Put First Things First”.  It is the natural result of the application of the first two habits (being proactive and having an end goal).  In this chapter, Mr. Covey discusses how to best manage yourself.  Generally the author’s recommendation is to develop a set of priorities and then to prioritize your tasks based on them.  He also discusses stewardship based management, which is the principle of making someone responsible for producing certain results.

Many time management systems are task oriented.  This is the natural outgrowth of how tangible objects are produced, and the world throws stuff at us.  We are used to receiving items as a list of things to do.  As soon as a task has been received, we then give it a mental priority.  In my experience, priorities are often time based and then modified based on other rules. Mr. Covey argues that tasks should be prioritized based on values and we should be proactive in prioritizing them, rather then reactive in how they are prioritized.

Management is an art which is hard to master. In high school, most of my mangers were very hands on, and told you step-by-step what they wanted done.  Where I work now, I would say we are closer to the stewardship based management discussed in this chapter.  Stewardship management is about laying down a set of expectations, some ground rules, and getting the other party started in the right direction.  After that is done, you let them go.  I believe this is more fulfilling to the person being managed, and more time effective for the manager.  In my experience, there is an adjustment required to go from step-by-step managers to stewardship based mangers. Someone who is used to step-by-step mangers doesn’t feel comfortable making the kinds of decisions a person under stewardship based manager needs to make.

Till Next Time-
Wesley

Faith In Action: Bible Reading

George Muller had some interesting points on Bible Reading.  I’m not going to go into depth on them, rather I’m going to make a bullet point list of my top three points.

  • We should read trough the Bible to make sure we are not missing certain passages.
  • Meditation often leads to prayer.
  • Reading spiritual books is not substitute for reading scripture.

Till Next Time-
Wesley

Church Shopping

Chapter 15 of the Scewtape Letters is about churches, churchgoers, and ways Christians can be subverted from being effective in them.  If you are not familiar with the Screwtape Letters by C.S Lewis, the book is a series of fictitious letters written from the perspective of a demon to his nephew with advice on tempting a certain “patient”.  The letters a kind of odd to read since they are written from the opposite perspective on the author and, in my case, the reader.

Lewis has several insights on the importance of Church in the Christian’s daily life, and ways churches are often corrupted.  He also addresses the problem of Church hopping.  In the letter, Screwtape suggests turning the “patient” into a connoisseur of churches so that he hops between churches with out ever committing to one.  Lewis also uses Screwtape to point out that a church should be viewed as more then a club.  If we view a church as something we can easily come and go from, then we are easily separated from meaningful relationships and more easily tempted.

Exploiting my Habit Part 2

So I had laid out a schedule for the blog a couple of days ago.  After further thought, I have decided to make some changes.  I am removing the summary’s of A Whack to The Side of the Head, since people could plagiarize that as homework.  I am adding summaries of two other books I’m currently doing to the schedule to encourage my self to read them in good time.

Sunday: Meditation on a Section of Scripture.
Monday: Asterisk Configuration Series.
Tuesday: Open Topic
Wednesday: Thoughts on Reading from the Screwtape Letters.
Thursday: Thoughts from George Muller Reading.
Friday: Thoughts on Computer Hardware Basics Reading.
Saturday: Thoughts on Cisco Networking Reading.

Reading about Some Habbits

I really haven’t done much fun reading for a long time.  My grandma stopped by our house on Sunday, and brought along her new Kindle.  This got me in the mood to pull mine out and try reading something.  The last book I had been reading was 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey.  There were two habits I read about today, being proactive and working toward an end goal.  If you aren’t familiar with the book, each chapter covers a particular habit.

The chapter on being proactive was mostly concerned about attitude.  Many people attribute their current situation in life to outside forces and live at the whim of their emotions.  Stephen argues that we have more control over where we are in life then we realize. If we take a step back and analyze our position we will likely find that we can take actions to change where we are.  Also he cited and example of some businessmen who, after being depressed by where their business was and where it was headed, were very encouraged by the actions they could take to improve things.  Keep in mind that making plans, but taking no action has about the same value as not making any plans.

I didn’t follow the chapter on working toward an end goal as closely, but the general principle was that we should plan out what we are going to do, based on the end result of what we want.  With many things in life we will let them go how they please, without setting any end goals.  Stephen says that we should approach situations with goals of how the results should look, rather then just doing things with no end goal in mind.

Till next time-
Wesley

Cisco Networking: Chapter 10

Sorry I missed yesterday.  I had a post on my Cisco class scheduled, so I’m going to make that post today.

Cisco’s Network Fundamentals Chapter 10 is about planning a network.  The chapter covers choosing routers and switches, choosing cabling types, allocating sub nets, and connecting to routers with console cables.

For routers and switches, the chapter discusses the differences in performance and the pros and cons of using a centralized network location.  In reality, many of the networks I work with are too small to justify the use of multiple telecommunication rooms.  However when dealing with large buildings or multiple buildings, having multiple telecommunication rooms quickly becomes a necessity.

Till Next Time-
Wesley

Exploiting My New Habit

Today is my 5th consecutive day of blogging as part of my 1 month challenge to myself to blog every day.  Last night I was thinking about how promising to blog every day gave me enough incentive to actually do it.  I’m going to try a little experiment too see if I can’t exploit this behavior pattern to get my homework done sooner.  My plan is to post a summery and my thoughts on the home work for each of my classes.  If this goes well, I’ll likely publicize it to my classmates next semester as a virtual study group.  Below is a weekly schedule for blog posts.

Sunday: Meditation on a Section of Scripture.
Monday: Summary for A Whack to The Side of the Head. Since this is pretty much the home work for that class, I am posting it after the fact.
Tuesday: Open
Wednesday: Open
Thursday: Asterisk Configuration Series.
Friday: Thoughts on Computer Hardware Basics Reading.
Saturday: Thoughts on Cisco Networking Reading.

I’d also like to get away from the blogging about blogging syndrome I see developing here.

Asterisk Series

Okay, I have put absolutely zero work into planning this, but I’m going to start a series of blog posts on configuring Asterisk.  I have an Asterisk box running with phone service from Vitelity.  My plan is to setup a system which allows you to make calls from your computer, cell phone, or other SIP client and send SMS from a XMPP client.  I picked Vitelity because they support SIP trunking and SMS via Jabber.  It would be cooler if I could send SMS over SIP, but Vitelity doesn’t support that feature.

I also will be getting a SPA112 from work.  If I can get my hands on a cheap analog phone too, I’ll add that as an extension on my PBX.

I’ll try and post a new article in this series every Thursday.

-Till Next Time
Wesley

Word Pictures: A View From Kirkwood

Today I’m going to try something different.  I’m going to describe what I see, as I’m sitting here.

I’m sitting on a metal chair, looking at a hilly Iowa country side in the distance.  It’s late fall so there is a lot of brown, some oranges, and a good bit of green yet.  When I look out toward the horizon I still see the fog from this morning, refusing to leave.  The grey sky casts a grim mood over the view.  As I look closer to me, I see brown apartments.  A variety of cars are parked in front of the apartments.  Roving yet closer with my eyes, I see the main parking lot for the building I’m in.  It’s population of cars has been dwindling through out the day and the lot is now at about a quarter of its capacity.  Between the parking lot and me is a common area, surrounded by tall grasses, paved with rock, divided by sidewalks, and dotted with abstract art and shrubs.  I see all this through rain speckled windows which are divided by metal supports.

Till Next Time-
Wesley